Workers (desperately) sought in Rousseau

Photo: Guillaume Levasseur Duty
Annie Fairfield, owner of the restaurant Oli AM, was still on the job four days before giving birth.

Monday noon to Saint-Alexis-de-Montcalm, the men in blue work walk through the doors of the restaurant Oli AM. The owner, Annie, Fairfield, is active at the entrance of the kitchen and behind her apron, pointing to a symbol of the difficult period that crosses the region where she lived and worked.

It appears there, in her round belly, this baby of 39 weeks, which should come into the world very soon (and who is beautiful and well-born on Friday 20 July, a few days after the passage of the Duty).

The waitress-entrepreneur does not have the means to find in her pregnancy for a reprieve ; in Oli AM like everywhere else in this area of Lanaudière, “there is a shortage of manpower,” repeat employers and workers.

The riding of Rousseau, where is Saint-Alexis, is a grid of regional roads and national-lined fields, at the end of which the shops and garages advertise the municipalities, of which the most populous is — by far — Saint-Lin–Laurentides, with its 17 000 inhabitants.

It is here that one finds the largest proportion of workers in trades, transport or machinery in Quebec. Not less than 28 % of the residents of Rousseau are mechanics, carpenters or heavy equipment operators, to name a few.

However, these workers, they are now difficult to find.

Percentage of people working in trades, transport and equipment operators

Travailleurs (désespérément) recherchés dans Rousseau

Accuracy: each point represents one of the 125 ridings in Quebec
Sources: Data from the census 2016
Inforgraphie: The Duty

Internet Solution

“It should almost go get them by the hand “, note Sylvain Lafortune, whose snack eponymous hosts round workers or small players of soccer, at the corner of 158 and the Main street. “There is no person who comes to his CV. We look it up on the Internet. “

Where it is, it can take a look on the Oli AM Annie Fairfield, to which he gives sometimes a few tips. “We have to go recruit them, recognizes the mom owner. Mr. Lafortune in front says to me : “Annie, will seek them out.” “

Travailleurs (désespérément) recherchés dans Rousseau

Photo: Guillaume Levasseur Duty
Alexandrine Mailhot, director of production at Lanauco, turned to social networks for recruitment.

For this, the production director of Lanauco, Alexandrine Mailhot, turned to the social networks. “We try to target young people. So… Facebook ! ” declares the young woman, in the modern offices of this great company that installs utility poles for Hydro-Québec. “It is we who must sell the business, saying that it is really fun, organising the BBQ. This is really another paradigm that has sprung up. “

The attractiveness of occupations such as those offered by his company, however, is large in the region. “I’m from Saint-Alexis, I grew up here, and among my friends in high school, all the guys go in the construction sector and girls, to University in Montreal,” she noted.

Speech to the electors of Rousseau

Travailleurs (désespérément) recherchés dans Rousseau

Photo: The Duty
Electoral district of Rousseau

The statistics reflect that. We find in Rousseau the lowest graduation rate at a university in Quebec (6.7 per cent), but also a number of graduates of schools of apprentice or trades that exceed the québec average of 11 percentage points among those aged 25-64 years. “It is sure that there is not a lot of offices of notaries or architects in our area,” notes Gaston Wolfe, a farmer and chairman of the event with Shots of tractors antique Saint-Alexis, where 1,500 people have gathered every year since 2002.

Except that here it is : nor the peaceful life of Rousseau, nor the success of his shots of the tractors are not enough to retain workers in the second crown of Montreal. For the ” new generations “, the power of attraction of the metropolis is bigger, stronger than that of the agricultural land in Lanaudière or the trades associated with it.

Travailleurs (désespérément) recherchés dans Rousseau

Photo: Guillaume Levasseur Duty
“It is sure that there is not a lot of offices of notaries or architects in our area,” notes Gaston Wolfe, farmer.

“Young people […], they want to leave. They want to go camping three days per week, from time to time, shows Gaston Wolfe. Priorities are no longer in the same place. And it is correct. It is hard for us sometimes to accept, but it is like that, ” says the 60-year old man.

In Montreal, the workers are also more attractive conditions, or the stability associated to a contract on a huge project, ” adds Felix Villeneuve, director of operations at la Sablière Jean Villeneuve and in Pelletier Excavation, Saint-Lin–Laurentides. “It may be two years. The Turcot interchange, the Champlain bridge, it has drawn a lot “, he says. Outside, 10 % of the thirty dump trucks that his company has parked. “We are not able to find anyone “, admits the entrepreneur. Result : “It is necessary that you refuse to customers, he said. There is no ben, ben of solutions. It is necessary to find of the human beings. There is no technology that replaces it ! “

Immigrants by bus

There is no technology, but at the factory working where Yannick Daudelin, there are… buses. The company, that he prefers not to name, ” the coming of the immigrants [by bus] because they are not capable… And even with immigrants, they find it difficult to cover the needs “, note the worker.

In his opinion, the solution lies in a better integration of these foreign workers. “It would be necessary to find ways to attract them into the regions, so that they feel at home. […] It is in the regions that there is a great need of them, ” he argued.

Around him, the contractors hold the same speech. “We, automatically, if there are any immigrants in the area, they are welcome,” says Serge Le Goffre. The president of the company Composites VCI, established in Saint-Lin–Laurentides, is now planning to recruit employees in the sector of the brazilian company.

The electoral promises of the political parties

In Lanauco, Alexandrine Mailhot points out the attraction that could take in subsidies for the remoteness of the labor force, ” to prevent any immigration is done in Montreal, and not in the region “. Otherwise, like the others, it is hard to see how the government of Quebec could help. “In Quebec, [ … ], we do not have control on this phenomenon. You can influence. [In contrast], I think that at the federal level, it’s going to be a big challenge, ” predicted Serge Le Goffre.

In the immediate, nor the québec policy or the federal policy will not solve the problem for Annie Fairfield. “The plan ? I don’t know, ” she admitted when asked how she envisions the reconciliation of work and new-born. She will close her restaurant during the two weeks after its birth ; and shall think to have a month of August “quiet” in the restaurant. And after ? “I’m gonna get my baby. I don’t have the choice. “



A previous version of this article, which reported that the snack Lafortune was located at the corner of 138 and Main street, has been corrected.

See the following folder


Travailleurs (désespérément) recherchés dans Rousseau

Workers (desperately) sought in Rousseau

Nearly one-third of the residents of this electoral district in the Lanaudière are employees of trades. But where are they?


Travailleurs (désespérément) recherchés dans Rousseau

The electoral promises of the political parties

Proposed by the parties as a solution for the workforce?


Travailleurs (désespérément) recherchés dans Rousseau

Speech to the electors of Rousseau

The opinion of Yannick Daudelin, Michel Laplante and Sylvain Lafortune.


Video: meeting with the citizens of the riding of Rousseau